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Regarding mobile....

  • The user uses 2 dropdown lists to select a date range for a filter.
  • The results of the filter (date range), which are shown below the filter options, is where my manager and I have disagreement.
  • He believes that the results should be a list (which can get very long), and allow long scrolling to get to the date the user wants.
    • He believes that this will not confuse the user, since you've got a list; Just scroll until you find one, even if you need to scroll lots. No tricks; just easy.
  • I believe that the results should be grouped by a range of dates, with the groups being dependent on the selected date range. E.g. 5 groups, with evenly divided days for each group, depending on the selected date range.
    • This approach of grouping means that the group's date range will be inconsistent, depending on the user's selected date range.
    • My manager believes that this will be confusing to the user, and cause them to think too hard. I think this is BS - the user has already put in a date range; how hard is it for them to think about it, again?
    • THis approach will drastically reduce the amount of scrolling, which is why i think this is better. But there is potentially more opening / closing tree structures (for the groups) for the user.

So, the question is:

  • Is my approach or my manager's approach better? We want a simpler experience for our users. Long list to scroll, or short list with potentially 'confusing' (my manager's words) groups?
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I'm confused as to how grouping reduces the length. Can you provide a visual? –  DA01 May 13 at 3:01

3 Answers 3

I actually had the same "argument" with a few internal users at my company about the same thing in an app that presented a long list of data to the user with infinite scrolling. I thought that it would be better to have it grouped or introduce some sort of filtering on the list as the list could potentially contain around 600 items.

So, instead of "thinking and arguing" about it, I simply created some mockups to share with the main stakeholders of the application to get their input. They had no problem with a simple list of all of that data as long as when they clicked on the list item to view the detail of that item and went back to the list, they were in the same place they left off. Also, ordering the list in some predefined way was beneficial (grouped by each users' "todo").

Sometimes we complicate things for the sake of "making sense", but when you take the time to actually ask users and show them the alternatives they will pick the one that makes the most sense and is the most useful to them in their use case.

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Apple does[1] a good job of this, as does the native Android contact list.

You have a list with very obvious headings which allow you to casually scroll through a large list until you need to observe a more precise range.

But that's as specific as is fair to say without more information or context.

The other answerer, Taylor L. brings up good questions.

Also keep in mind that extra taps / clicks are more effort on mobile than a casual scroll gesture.

Also, think mathematically: how many "screens" do you need to scroll down on average, vs how many "taps" do you need to do to get to your result?

[1](did? I haven't looked at an iPhone in ages...)

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The best way to find out which is best is to test a few users and see what problems they have with each interface.

Some questions that might lead you in the right direction, in terms of the initial designs that you could try out:

  • How many results would a user see for each day included in the date range?
  • How big of a date range would the user normally select?
  • Is the user trying to find one specific result? (Or are they trying to compare a couple of results?)

My suggestions:

It does seem a little odd to me to have a user select a date range, and then select sub ranges inside of that range. Perhaps you could show them the first N results, with the words "Results 1-N" and buttons to the left and right of those words which would increment or decrement the results by N. (So if you show results 1-10, they could click and see results 11-20.) The best value for N could be determined by user testing.

If the user is looking for one specific result, perhaps you could have another way of searching (eg by content in the result).

I would be curious to see whether, in your use case, with your users, a user would decrease the date range in response to getting an unusable number of results. The thing is, people can only choose between about 5 options. Depending on what the content is, I think that they are unlikely to be able to deal with more than 10 results. (How often do you get to the second page of a Google search? What about the third page?)

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